Thursday, December 26, 2013


Tim and Suz
(maybe around 2004)

I keep this snap of us in the studio near my easel. We were at a beach party one of our co-workers had at her parents place. I remember walking hand in hand along the shore and feeling so fortunate.

And I feel as fortunate today! There is complete and total continuity. Nothing has been broken, severed or come to an end. I've come to believe the time we spend here on the earth plane is predetermined. Everything we experience here is part and parcel of whatever lessons we need to learn while we are here and believing that all we are are these bodies, we place all of our eggs in that particular basket. And as long as we cling to that belief, when our favorite egg breaks, we break along with it.

I know now we are so much more than this life and these bodies. But I also believe we will never know that until we learn to accept each other and learn to live in peace. And I believe we can do that.

I wish everyone a very Happy and Joyous Holiday Season. And most especially a peace-filled, prosperous and loving New Year. And thank you again and again and again for all of the support and generous comments you have been so kind to leave here over this past year. And, as I've said and will continue to say, words cannot express how grateful and blessed I am by them and you.

Our boys....Blu Berry and Raz Berry!

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 21, 2013


"Dressing Up"
16x20" mixed media

We were all a tad busy this month so the challenge posting is a tad late. Diana chose "a little girl's holiday dress" for our subject and a fitting choice it is. I was busy with life and the jelly donuts and then the dress I ordered to paint and subsequently gift my niece arrived late due to snow storms in the west, so I found this little frock online.

I wasn't at all happy with it so when I scanned it into Photoshop I added the dots in the background to try and give it some character.

During this busy joyful season, it's difficult to turn our attention to those facing demanding challenges but I want to share this because I know first hand how caring and wonderful you all are.

If you haven't read already on her blog post, my very dear friend Brenda Ferguson, who I have spoken of many times here, is facing, unfortunately, the challenge of her life. Please, if you can, drop by her blog and leave her a message of comfort and hope and if you pray, please include Brenda and her family in your prayers.

Bren, who I've never had the pleasure of meeting in person, has become one of my closest and dearest friends. The first year of my journey without Tim, Brenda would constantly send me passages of encouragement and messages of support to let me know she was thinking of me. Then subsequently we began chatting through emails and discovered we had been separated at birth. Our similarities, not the least of which is sharing a beauty mark in the exact same place, paved the way for daily emails back and forth, sometimes all day long. She is an incredibly generous, kind and loving person and I am beyond grateful and blessed to have her in my life.

"Decked Out!"
oil on hardboard 7x5"
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

oil on linen 20x16"

Thank you for stopping by, your visits and comments mean more than I can put into words. I'll be posting my Christmas greetings on the eve of.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


48x36" oil on heavyweight canvas


Well, what can I say. If ya can't eat 'em, paint 'em. Curious though that as soon as I swore off the demon white granules I felt a desperate need to paint pastry! Hmmmm. Nothin' gets by me, there's a connection there! (gee, ya think suz?). There are plastic containers of the prettiest cupcakes in the fridge and there were 2 dozen assorted doughnuts that sat around for a while. How surprised was I when the late night munchies descended and I chose an apple from the inner glow of the open fridge! Growth spurt!

This was so much fun to paint! Each day I couldn't wait to get to the studio. Even with appointments, prior commitments and emergency phone calls from friends in need, I found time to get in there and work on this. Could it be the subject matter? Na...I think I was just really havin' a good time.

I've included some progress shots because when I began I was determined to have a finished painting that looked more painterly and I think I was doing okay in the beginning but eventually I got tighter and tighter. Still, I'm happy with the results. Might as well embrace my style.

I bought these from Dunkin Donuts and was a little disappointed in the amount of jelly inside. I imagined all sorts of oozing globs of the stuff emerging from these golden disks of love, (easy suz, you're worshiping the food again...not cool) however when I began to set them up I found I had to squeeze some of them beyond all recognition to get even a little blob out! Bummer!

They look precarious because they are. I put a hand lotion bottle behind the stack of sugar-laden love to hold them up and snapped away. I still have lots of work to do but I need to get on to other things and I wanted to post my progression so far.

The sugar was interesting to paint. At one point I actually dotted the canvas with the brush and then took an old brush with a nasty do and shmushed away. What I found interesting was that the warm and cool sections of the sugar globs really illustrated depth. In the light I used yellow ochre, a bit of raw umber and white. In the shadow it was a combination of raw umber, white and a new tube I just bought of blue white. Whenever I drifted into warm territory with the cool version of the sugar, the painting didn't read so it was a good lesson in temperature values.

I'm going to finish this and the Sparrow's Ass (Berry-speak for asparagus) before the end of January. There are more than a few paintings just languishing, including that portrait that I just can't seem to nail, but I will. I think.

Also, I had a visitor today! I glanced out the window early this morning to see a red suited figure headed toward my door! What a surprise! Not one to name drop, I will say that Santa and I are tight. He was in the area checking on some routes since the neighborhood has expanded since last Christmas and he stopped in for a cup of Joe and to use the facilities. We had a nice chat. The boys weren't with him though, curiously enough he was in one of those little numbers, you know the ones...they look like toys. Fitting transportation I thought.

Anyway, I'll be posting before Christmas so I'll save my good wishes for then. Take good care and thank you so much for stopping my.

Oh, yeah, one more thing. Tim suggested I remain upbeat and joyous and I think he's right. I am celebrating his Spirit this season and enjoying every minute.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


16x16" oil on linen


Maddie is a Westie and a Christmas commission. I so hope her Mom likes it, it's a surprise. I've been assured that she wouldn't see it here so I am looking forward to hearing how it's received. It was a lot of fun to work on except this is my first time using Blick Linen. We didn't hit if off, but I have another canvas of theirs to work on so we'll see.

Been having a difficult few weeks but I think it's because I realized I was falling back on some bad behaviors every night to dull the senses. Overeating has always been my first drug of choice but I've found it's no longer affording me any peace, not that it ever has, so I decided to change my habits. And of course, all of the emotions I've been pushing down with peanuts (you remember them) etc., are now washing over me like a set of large cresting waves, increasing in size with each successive one. And this is a good thing!! In my studying I've learned that I need to sit in these feelings and experience them before they can be released, so actually what feels like poop will eventually clear the way for even more healing.

It's really amazing to realize that those awful feelings we have are there because we need to feel them, not try to make them disappear. Ugh! But I have to admit, once I sit in them, experience them, feel them, there is a sense of a huge weight being lifted. Resist nothing! That's what seems to be coming at me from all directions and I'm finding that admitting and facing my fears and dreads is what diminishes them and makes them go away....for good.

Tim has been very sweet during this time. In fact the latest "visit" has me so freaked out I hesitate to share it. But of course I will and I'll keep it short because I'm very uncomfortable with it and am having trouble embracing it.

Real bad day last Wednesday. Wandering from room to room, lots of ugly crying, couldn't work, couldn't read...felt like it just happened. Plopped down on the couch with the pups and just looked out the window feeling just awful. The mailman pulls up. The dogs freak out. I let them out the back so they could give the mailman a piece of their minds and I could go out the front and retrieve the mail. What is it with dogs and mailman. They go nuts! Anyway....

Back in the house I see an envelope from Amazon. Not remembering ordering a book recently, I ripped it open to find a book entitled..Chicken Soup for the Soul...Miraculous Message from Heaven! I had no memory of ordering this book, but thought if I did at some point and forgot, the timing could not have been more perfect. I smiled, looked up and thanked Tim for his ever impeccable timing.

Thinking I'd ordered it months ago and it was out of stock, I examined the envelope for the receipt that always accompanies anything I order from Amazon. Nothing! Hmmmm....So I went online and reviewed my order history for the last full year. Nothing! There simply is no evidence that I ordered this book whatsoever!!

Okay....what's going on here? I began reading the stories which were very comforting as promised and most of them were about objects with real meaning, to those who received them, manifesting in the physical world which freaked me out even more! I shared this with 3 close friends to see if they would shine me on and think...okay, she's lost it, but they were supportive and excited, so I decided to share this with you guys. I must admit, I am a little ashamed of myself as I always tried to make Tim embrace the metaphysical when he was here and now that he's tossing me some serious proof of its existence, I'm balking! Again, I think it's that bugaboo of wanting something so much that when you receive it, you just can't believe it!

I'm still very freaked out. I saved the envelope and continue to read each story of hope, love and assurance and I feel so much better I can't believe it! This is an amazing journey. I've begun keeping a record of each "visit" and gift and it's been so incredibly invaluable I am amazed!! My mood has shifted completely and I can't thank Tim enough for continuing to show me that he's right here with us.

Clearly, Tim Berry has not lost one ounce of cool! Thank you my love for this gift of peace and assurance.


December 10, 2013

And I must say, I am both a little disappointed and a tad relieved! I just stumbled out of bed and while the boys were eating logged on to find an email from a new friend Wendy Barnes. Wendy is also my first attempt at teaching online.

Anyway, in her email Wendy asked if I had received the copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul....she recently sent me as a gift!

OOOOkay!! I definitely was having trouble embracing this particular "visit" from Tim. They say souls retain their personality when they pass, and this "gift" really didn't fit his. However, I'm both proud and happy that I was open to believing it could have been from him.

And so, the mystery of this blog entry is solved. And thank you so much Wendy, I still believe the arrival of the book at a time when I needed it most was, in its own way, a miracle.